Universal Music Group (also known in the United States as UMG Recordings, Inc. and abbreviated as UMG) is an American global music corporation that is a subsidiary of the French media conglomerate Vivendi. UMG's global corporate headquarters are located in Santa Monica, California. It is considered one of the "Big Three" record labels, along with Sony Music and Warner Music Group. Since 2004, the corporation is no longer related to the film studio Universal Studios.
|Universal Music Group|
UMG's headquarters in Santa Monica, California
|Headquarters||Santa Monica, California, US|
(Chairman & CEO) (2011-)
|Products||Music and entertainment|
|Revenue||$6.8 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
|Divisions||List of Universal Music Group labels|
Universal Music was once the record company attached to film studio Universal Pictures. The company's origins go back to the formation of the American branch of Decca Records in September 1934. The Decca Record Co. Ltd. of England spun American Decca off in 1939. MCA Inc. merged with American Decca in 1962.
In November 1990, Japanese multinational conglomerate Matsushita Electric agreed to acquire MCA for $6.59 billion. In 1995, Seagram acquired 80 percent of MCA from Matsushita. On December 9, 1996, the company was renamed Universal Studios, Inc., and its music division was renamed Universal Music Group; MCA Records continued as a label within the Universal Music Group. In May 1998, Seagram purchased PolyGram and merged it with Universal Music Group in early 1999.
With the 2004 acquisition of Universal Studios by General Electric and merging with GE's NBC, Universal Music Group was cast under separate management from the eponymous film studio. This is the second time a music company has done so, the first being the separation of Time Warner and Warner Music Group. In February 2006, the label became 100 percent owned by French media conglomerate Vivendi when Vivendi purchased the last 20 percent from Matsushita. On June 25, 2007, Vivendi completed its €1.63 billion ($2.4 billion) purchase of BMG Music Publishing, after receiving European Union regulatory approval, having announced the acquisition on September 6, 2006.
Doug Morris stepped down from his position as CEO on January 1, 2011. Former chairman/CEO of Universal Music International Lucian Grainge was promoted to CEO of the company. Grainge later replaced him as chairman on March 9, 2011. Morris became the next chairman of Sony Music Entertainment on July 1, 2011. With Grainge's appointment as CEO at UMG, Max Hole was promoted to COO of UMGI, effective July 1, 2010. Starting in 2011 UMG's Interscope Geffen A&M Records will be signing contestants from American Idol/Idol series. On January 2011, UMG announced it was donating 200,000 master recordings from the 1920s to 1940s to the Library of Congress for preservation.
In March 2011, Barry Weiss became chairman and CEO of The Island Def Jam Music Group and Universal Republic Records. Both companies were restructured under Weiss. In December 2011, David Foster was named Chairman of Verve Music Group.
In 2011, EMI sold its recorded music operations to Universal Music Group for £1.2 billion ($1.9 billion) and its music publishing operations to a Sony-led consortium for $2.2 billion. Among the other companies that had competed for the recorded music business was Warner Music Group which was reported to have made a $2 billion bid. IMPALA opposed the merger. In March 2012, the European Union opened an investigation into the acquisition The EU asked rivals and consumer groups whether the deal would result in higher prices and shut out competitors.
On September 21, 2012, the sale of EMI to UMG was approved in Europe and the United States by the European Commission and Federal Trade Commission respectively. However, the European Commission approved the deal only under the condition the merged company divest one third of its total operations to other companies with a proven track record in the music industry. UMG divested Mute Records, Parlophone, Roxy Recordings, MPS Records, Cooperative Music, Now That's What I Call Music!, Jazzland, Universal Greece, Sanctuary Records, Chrysalis Records, EMI Classics, Virgin Classics, and EMI's European regional labels to comply with this condition. UMG retained The Beatles (formerly of Parlophone) and Robbie Williams (formerly of Chrysalis). The Beatles catalogue was transferred to UMG's newly formed Calderstone Productions , while Williams' catalogue was transferred to Island Records.
Universal Music Group completed their acquisition of EMI on September 28, 2012. In November 2012, Steve Barnett was appointed chairman and CEO of Capitol Music Group. He formerly served as COO of Columbia Records. In compliance the conditions of the European Commission after purchase of EMI, Universal Music Group sold the Mute catalogue to the German-based BMG Rights Management on December 22, 2012. Two months later, BMG acquired Sanctuary Records for €50 million.
On November 8, 2012, Universal Music and Hewlett-Packard launched a marketing operation that allows customers with an HP computer with HP Connected Music software to access music from Universal artists, as well as exclusive content.
On February 8, 2013, Warner Music Group acquired the Parlophone Label Group (consisting of Parlophone Records, Chrysalis Records, EMI Classics, Virgin Classics and EMI Records' Belgian, Czech, Danish, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Slovak and Swedish divisions) for $765 million (£487 million). Later in February, Sony Music Entertainment acquired Universal's European share in Now That's What I Call Music for approximately $60 million. Play It Again Sam acquired Co-Operative Music for £500,000 in March 2013. With EMI's absorption into Universal Music complete, its British operations will consist of five label units: Island, Polydor, Decca, Virgin EMI and Capitol. In April 2013, Universal Music Greece (excluding Nana Mouskouri) was sold to Victoras Antippas, who renamed the company Cobalt Music. Edel AG acquired the MPS catalogue from Universal in January 2014.
On March 20, 2013, UMG announced the worldwide extension of their exclusive distribution deal with the Disney Music Group, excluding Japan and Russia. As a result of this deal DMG's labels and artists have access to UMG's roster of producers and songwriters on a worldwide basis. The exclusive deal also saw UMG granted unlimited access to all rights pertaining to Disney's 85-year back catalog of soundtracks and albums.
On April 2, 2013, the gospel music divisions of Motown Records and EMI merged to form a new label called Motown Gospel. In May 2013, Japanese company SoftBank offered $8.5 billion to Vivendi for the acquisition of UMG, but Vivendi rejected it. As of November 14, 2013, Universal Music will now distribute Warner Music Group's releases in the Middle East as a result of the integration of EMI's branch in the said region.
On April 1, 2014, Universal Music announced the disbandment of Island Def Jam Music, one of four operational umbrella groups within Universal Music. Universal CEO Lucian Grainge said of the closure, "No matter how much we might work to build 'IDJ' as a brand, that brand could never be as powerful as each of IDJ's constituent parts." Under terms of the agreement Island Records and Def Jam would operate as autonomous record labels. David Massey and Bartels, who worked respectively at Island and Def Jam Records, would lead the new record labels independently. Barry Weiss, who previously moved from Sony Music to head up Island Def Jam Music in 2012 when Motown Records was incorporated into Island Def Jam, stepped down from Universal Music. Additionally, as part of the changes to the labels, Motown Records would transfer to Los Angeles to become part of the Capitol Music Group and previous Vice President Ethiopia Habtemariam was promoted to Label President for Motown Records. Republic Records would operate independently while the Interscope Geffen A&M group remained unchanged.
Universal Music Group entered into film and TV production with the 2014 purchase of Eagle Rock Entertainment. UMG's first major film production was Amy while taking part in Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck and The Beatles: Eight Days a Week documentaries. In January 2016, UMG hired David Blackman from Laurence Mark Production where he was president of production as head of film and television development and production, and theater producer Scott Landis as special advisor on theatrical development and production. UMG Executive Vice President Michele Anthony and Universal Music Publishing Group Chairman and CEO Jody Gerson have oversight of the pair. On February 11, 2017, PolyGram Entertainment was relaunched as a film and television unit of Universal Music Group under David Blackman. Vivendi and Red Bull GmbH combined StudioCanal, Universal Music Group and Terra Mater Film Studios in a co-development partnership for feature films in May 2017.
In August 2017, UMG and Grace/Beyond agreed to develop three new music-based television series, 27, Melody Island and Mixtape. 27 would focus on musicians at the age of 27, an age at which several iconic musicians died. Melody Island is an animated series based on uplifting tropical island feel music with live craft segments. Mixtape is dramatically structured similar to how a mixtape works with each connecting to a song.
On November 19, 2018, singer Taylor Swift signed a new multi-album deal with Universal Music Group. In addition to the promised ownership of her master recordings, UMG agreed to, in the event that it sells portions of its stake in Spotify, distribute proceeds among its artists and make them non-recoupable.
The UMG main global headquarters are located at 2220 Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica headquarters oversees its legal obligations in the US and Canada. Interscope-Geffen-A&M and Verve Music Group are based at its Los Angeles headquarters with John Janick heading Interscope-Geffen-A&M and David Foster heading Verve. Def Jam, Island and Republic Records has offices at the Santa Monica headquarters. The building is also home to Universal Music Enterprises (UME). UMG chairman & CEO Lucian Grainge works out of the company's Santa Monica headquarters. Universal Music Publishing is headquartered at 2100 Colorado Avenue.
Universal Music Spain is headquartered in Madrid, Spain in the neighborhood of Ciudad Lineal. Universal Music Spain was founded in 1998 and today is important for both Spanish and Latin American artists, and generally, global Spanish language music.
Universal Music Group Global (formerly known as Universal Music Group International (UMGI)) is headquartered in Kensington, London. Global manages UMG's offices in most countries outside of North America.
Universal Music Group‘s Universal Music Polska is located in Warsaw.
Universal Music Group's Universal Music Canada is located in Toronto, in a former building that was the previous home to the Canadian subsidiary of MCA Records since 1970.
Between 1995 and 2000, music companies were found to have used illegal marketing agreements such as minimum advertised pricing to artificially inflate prices of compact discs in order to end price wars by discounters such as Best Buy and Target in the early 1990s. A settlement in 2002 included the music publishers and distributors; Sony Music, Warner Music, Bertelsmann Music Group, EMI Music and Universal Music Group. In restitution for price fixing they agreed to pay a $67.4 million fine and distribute $75.7 million in CDs to public and non-profit groups but admitted no wrongdoing. It is estimated suppliers/customers were overcharged by nearly $500 million and up to $5 per album which conflicts with proof of sale and purchase interests.
In May 2006, an investigation led by then New York Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, concluded with a determination that Universal Music Group bribed radio stations to play songs from Ashlee Simpson, Brian McKnight, Big Tymers, Nick Lachey, Lindsay Lohan and other performers under Universal labels. The company paid $12 million to the state in settlement.
In May 2007, UMG was accused of abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in order to quell criticism, by forcing YouTube to remove several videos which contained UMG's music. Eventually, UMG retracted its claims after being challenged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In the same year, UMG was accused of using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to indiscriminately remove content related to the artist Prince, most notably a twenty-nine-second home video in which a child danced to one of Prince's songs. In April 2016, UMG had the audio muted of a video clip showing Katherine Jenkins singing the British national anthem. They claimed that "God Save the Queen" was a copyrighted song, and YouTube initially complied with this request, but later allowed the video to be viewed with the original audio track.
In December 2007, UMG announced a deal with Imeem which allows users of the social network to listen to any track from Universal's catalogue for free with a portion of the advertising generated by the music being shared with the record label. Two weeks after the deal was announced Michael Robertson speculated on the secret terms of the deal and argued that ultimately this was a bad deal for imeem. This speculation lead to a flame war on the Pho digital media email list as imeem representatives denied his claims and dismissed his theories as unfounded. All traffic was redirected to MySpace after the company acquired Imeem on December 8, 2009.
On December 9, 2011, Megaupload published a music video titled: "The Mega Song", showing artists including Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys and will.i.am endorsing the company. The music video was also uploaded to YouTube, but was removed following a takedown request by UMG. Megaupload said that the video contained no infringing content, commenting: "we have signed agreements with every featured artist for this campaign". Megaupload requested an apology from UMG, and filed a lawsuit against the company in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, on December 12, 2011. UMG denied that the takedown was ordered under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and said that the takedown was "pursuant to the UMG-YouTube agreement," which gives UMG "the right to block or remove user-posted videos through YouTube's CMS (Content Management System) based on a number of contractually specified criteria." The video was subsequently returned to YouTube, with the reasons for the UMG takedown remaining unclear. Lawyers for will.i.am initially claimed that he had never agreed to the project, and on December 12, he denied any involvement in the takedown notice.
A (named , plural As, A's, as, a's or aes) is the first letter and the first vowel of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is similar to the Ancient Greek letter alpha, from which it derives. The uppercase version consists of the two slanting sides of a triangle, crossed in the middle by a horizontal bar. The lowercase version can be written in two forms: the double-storey a and single-storey ɑ. The latter is commonly used in handwriting and fonts based on it, especially fonts intended to be read by children, and is also found in italic type.
In English grammar, "a", and its variant "an", is an indefinite article.Capitol Records
Capitol Records, Inc. is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Capitol Music Group imprint. It was founded as the first West Coast-based record label in the United States in 1942 by Johnny Mercer, Buddy DeSylva, and Glenn E. Wallichs. Capitol was acquired by British music conglomerate EMI as its North American subsidiary in 1955. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012 and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both a part of UMG. The label's circular headquarter building in Hollywood is a recognized landmark of California.
Capitol's roster includes Katy Perry, Sir Paul McCartney, Mary J. Blige, Halsey, the Beach Boys, the Beastie Boys, Neil Diamond, Eagles, Brian Wilson, Beck, Avenged Sevenfold, 5 Seconds of Summer, Don Henley, Sam Smith, Migos, NF, Emeli Sandé, Troye Sivan, Calum Scott, Tori Kelly, and Jon Bellion.DGC Records
DGC Records (an initialism for the David Geffen Company) is an American major record label that currently operates as a division of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, which is owned by the Vivendi-based Universal Music Group.Def Jam Recordings
Def Jam Recordings is an American record label focused predominantly on hip hop and urban music, owned by Universal Music Group. In the UK, the label takes on the name Def Jam UK and is operated through Virgin EMI Records, while in Japan, it is known as Def Jam Japan, operating through Universal Music Japan. The label distributes releases of various record labels, including Kanye West's GOOD Music, and Listen Up Forever Records, headed by producer, Ronny J. Current artists include Justin Bieber, Logic, Big Sean, Kanye West, Nas, 2 Chainz, Teyana Taylor, YG, Dave East, Jeezy, Jeremih, Q-Tip, Valee, Pusha T, Vince Staples, Fabolous, Desiigner and Jhené Aiko.Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon (DGG) is a German classical music record label that was the precursor of the corporation PolyGram. Headquarted in Berlin Friedrichshain, it is now part of Universal Music Group (UMG) since its merger with the UMG family of labels in 1999. It is the oldest surviving established record company.Geffen Records
Geffen Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Interscope Geffen A&M Records imprint.
On March 23, 2017, Billboard announced that Geffen was relaunching with longtime A&R Neil Jacobson as President, who reports to John Janick, CEO and chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M.Island Records
Island Records is a record label owned by Universal Music Group. It was founded in 1959 by Chris Blackwell, Graeme Goodall, and Leslie Kong in Jamaica, and was eventually sold to PolyGram in 1989. Island and A&M Records, another label recently acquired by PolyGram, were both at the time the largest independent record labels in history, with Island in particular having exerted a major influence on the progressive music scene in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s.
Island Records operates four international divisions: Island UK, Island US, Island Australia, and Island France (known as Vertigo France until 2014). Current key people include Island US president Darcus Beese, OBE and MD Jon Turner. Partially due to its significant legacy, Island remains one of UMG's pre-eminent record labels.
Artists who have signed to Island Records include Bishop Briggs, Hozier, Demi Lovato, Fall Out Boy, The Killers, Leona Lewis, U2, Mumford & Sons, Amy Winehouse, Ben Howard, James TW, Florence + The Machine, Sigrid, John Newman, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Disclosure, Big Shaq, AlunaGeorge, Keane, Annie Lennox, JP Cooper, PJ Harvey, Janet Jackson, John Martyn, Nick Jonas, KSI, Robyn, Shawn Mendes, Jessie J, and scarlxrd.List of Universal Music Group labels
Universal Music Group owns, or has a joint share in, a large number of record labels listed herein.MCA Records
MCA Records was an American major record label owned by MCA Inc., which later gave way to the larger MCA Music Entertainment Group (now Universal Music Group), which the label was part of until its dissolution in 2003. The label's country division MCA Nashville is a still active imprint of Universal Music Group Nashville.PolyGram
PolyGram, founded in 1962, acquired by Universal Music Group in 1998 and merged into that group in 1999, was a Dutch entertainment company, which started as a major record label founded by Dutch Philips and German Siemens as a holding company for their music interests in 1972. The name was chosen to reflect the Siemens interest Polydor Records and the Philips interest Phonogram Records. The company traced its origins through Deutsche Grammophon back to the inventor of the flat disk gramophone, Emil Berliner.
Later on, PolyGram expanded into the largest global entertainment company, creating film and television divisions. In May 1998, it was sold to the alcoholic distiller Seagram which owned film, television and music company MCA Inc. PolyGram was thereby merged into Universal Music Group, and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment was merged into Universal Pictures, which had been both Seagram successors of MCA. When the newly formed entertainment division of Seagram faced financial difficulties, it was sold to Vivendi, and MCA became known as Universal Studios, as Seagram ceased to exist. Vivendi remains owner of the Universal Music Group (while the film and television division was sold to NBCUniversal). In February 2017, UMG revived the company under the name of PolyGram Entertainment, which currently serves as their film and television division.Polydor Records
Polydor is a British record label and company, that operates as part of Universal Music Group. It has a close relationship with Universal's Interscope Geffen A&M Records label, which distributes Polydor's releases in the United States. In turn, Polydor distributes Interscope releases in the United Kingdom. Polydor Records Ltd. was established in London in 1954 as a British subsidiary of German company Deutsche Grammophon GmbH. It was renamed Polydor Ltd. in 1972.
Its artists have included The Moody Blues, The Who, Samantha Mumba, Years & Years, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Slade, Bee Gees, The Jam, Cheryl and Girls Aloud, The Saturdays, Take That, James Brown, Fickle Friends, The Fauves, Ellie Goulding, Duffy, James Blake, Snow Patrol, Elbow, Status Quo, Elton John, Marie Osmond, Waldo de los Ríos, Ruti Olajugbagbe, Molly Hocking and American artists Lana Del Rey, Soraya, Haim, Keith O'Conner Murphy, LANY, and Azealia Banks.Republic Records
Republic Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group (UMG). It was founded by Avery Lipman and Monte Lipman as an independent label in 1995, and was acquired by UMG in 2000. Republic was initially an imprint of the Universal/Motown Records Group, and was renamed Universal Republic Records after a reorganization in 2006 before reverting to its original name in 2012.Artists signed to Republic Records include Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne, Nav, The Weeknd, Taylor Swift, Greta Van Fleet, Black Veil Brides, Andy Black, Jessie J, MIKA, Hailee Steinfeld, Lorde, Post Malone, Florence and the Machine, Julia Michaels, Austin Mahone, Jonas Brothers, 3 Doors Down and DNCE. Its country music subsidiary Republic Nashville has signed Florida Georgia Line, The Band Perry, and Eli Young Band.Universal Music Group Nashville
Universal Music Group Nashville is Universal Music Group's country music subsidiary. Some of the labels in this group include MCA Nashville Records, Mercury Nashville Records, Lost Highway Records, Capitol Records Nashville and EMI Records Nashville. UMG Nashville not only handles these imprints, but also manages the country music catalogues of record labels Universal Music and predecessor companies acquired over the years including ABC Records, Decca Records, Dot Records, DreamWorks Records, Kapp Records, MGM Records and Polydor Records.Verve Records
Verve Records, also known as The Verve Music Group, founded in 1956 by Norman Granz, is home to the world's largest jazz catalogue and includes recordings by artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Stan Getz and Billie Holiday, among others. It absorbed the catalogues of Granz's earlier labels, Clef Records, founded in 1946, Norgran Records, founded in 1953, and material previously licensed to Mercury Records.Verve also served as the original home of rock music acts such as The Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. The restructured Verve Records is now part of the Verve Label Group, which is owned by Universal Music Group. This company is also home to historic imprints including Verve Forecast Records, Impulse! Records and Decca Records.Virgin EMI Records
Virgin EMI Records is a British record label owned by the Universal Music Group that was formed in 2013.